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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  September 21, 2011 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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broken which weather each side learns to stand in the other's shoes. each side can see the world through the other's eyes. that's what we should be encouraging. nbc news political director chuck todd is here with me. want to start with ron allen, at the united nations. ron, what did the president say today? >> reporter: well, he just had a meeting with prime minister benjamin netanyahu of israel. and a very polite, professional session. they delivered statements that were very perfunctory, interestingly, though, the president reiterated the strong support that the united states has for israel and its security, and mr. netanyahu thanked the president for standing with israel and said it was a badge of honor, badge of courage that he was doing that. it's a sharp contrast to a meeting that they had in may at the white house where the prime minister essentially lectured president obama after their meeting about the history of the middle east. they have a difficult relationship. the question is -- where does this go now? and i think the fact of the
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matter is is that neither leader has a lot of political incentive to push this whole process further. president obama is in full re-election campaign mode. and back in israel, benjamin netanyahu is under a lot of pressure domestically to try and improve the living conditions of ordinary israelis who have been protesting in the streets in unprecedented numbers. so it's likely that the palestinians will continue their efforts here at the u.n. which they see as the only hope left to them. they're trying to drum up at least nine of the 15 votes, nine votes on the security council which would move that measure forward. although it could be bogged down, delayed for months and years. or they may go to the general assembly where if there were a vote, they would get overwhelming support, hundreds of -- 100 or more countries would vote for them, and small numbers might support the united states and israel. and then they might have the satisfaction of at least showing the world that there is that support, but ultimately this is all just part of a continuing negotiation. >> ron allen from the united nations this afternoon.
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ron, thank you. want to bring in chuck todd now. so if the president's conversation with the palestinian leader abbas, if that fails tonight, if the behind-the-scenes arm-twisting fails tonight and there does have to become this veto of a vote on palestinian statehood, what would the political consequences be here, and what would they be abroad? >> well, i think the worry is more about the abroad. but the white house is a little bit concerned that when they added this meeting with abbas that it was somehow going to raise expectations that president obama could somehow talk, walk this back, get abbas to walk this back. ron brought up the domestic political problems that netanyahu has to deal with and why he's got to say what he's got to say internationally. abbas has the same issue actually. abbas can't back down. if he backs down, he threw it out there, if he backs down. in an odd way, at this point the u.s. is going to be hoping to explain to abbas that they're going to slow walk this. >> yeah. >> you put this here, yes,
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theveted -- the veto's going to come, but it may take a while before we vote. the u.s. is trying to prevent the eight votes, they don't want to use the veto. it would set back the president's standing in the arab world. >> i want to play some sound. this sound obviously not unfamiliar to you because it's from your piece last night. >> yes. >> this is rick perry yesterday in new york, talking about president obama and his position on middle east peace. take a listen. >> we would not be here today at this very precipice of such a dangerous move if the obama policy in the middle east wasn't naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous. >> what if howard dean or john kerry had done something like that in 2003 before then-president bush addressed the u.n., what would the reaction have been? >> yeah, location matters and timing matters on this. look, israel is that one international issue that doesn't follow apparently the rules that
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politics stops at the waterfront, at the edge of the waterfront when it comes to the united states. so it is apparently some of these rules don't apply to politics. but you heard this morning at the -- yes, a former bush foreign policy adviser, sympathetic to mitt romney, standing with members of the israeli parliament to the right of netanyahu on these issues, that the timing of doing it is one thing to be in a new cycle and show yourself as the contrast to president obama. it's another to do it in the middle of the sticky negotiations. and it is -- has that gone too far? lamar alexander, republican senator from tennessee. he was diplomatic when he said, well, i'm sure the perry campaign if they could have done it might have done it differently. but the message works in republican politics. the social conservative, christian conservatives, the issue of israel, it's a litmus test. and you saw mitt romney didn't want to get outdone. he said the president, he threw out a release to say, hey, don't
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think i'm no less pro-israel than rick perry is. >> political director chuck todd, always a pleasure, sir. thank you. >> you got it. the georgia parole board has rejected a final bid for clemency from lawyers for convicted cop killer troy davis. he's set to be executed in less than seven hours now. amnesty international just released this statement from davis saying in part, "the struggle for justice does not end with me. this struggle is for all the troy davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. i'm in good spirits, and i'm prayerful and at peace. but i will not stop fighting until i have taken my last breath." his attorneys say that troy davis is a victim of mistaken identity, and that he's gotten some high-profile supporters, as well. joining me live from atlanta, reverend al sharpton, host of more th msnbc's "politics nation." thank you for joining me. >> thank you. >> let's talk about what's
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happening. what are you hearing on the ground in terms of protests, in terms of another last-minute push from supporters? >> well, we have just arrived here. the group i lead is doing a vigil from now until the time of -- that we know whether he in fact will be executed. several because arrived with me, and we'll be starting the vigil. there will be other protests. and i think that troy davis said it right -- this is bigger than him. this is about the cases of mistaken identity. the cases of people being executed on very flawed and in some cases nonexistent evidence. you have to remember here there was no physical evidence, there was no dna. he was convicted on the statements of nine witnesses, seven of them recanted. five of them said they were coerced. >> how do you think we got to this point? because some of the things that you just noted there have been
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noted by the pope, they have been noted by former president jimmy carter, all of the hundreds of thousands who have signed petitions, why don't you think those arguments have resonated? >> i've been involved in the case the last three or four years. when i got in, when the savannah chapter of national action brought it to my attention, we were asking the same questions. the answer is that when he was first charged, he did not have the funds to correctly defend himself. the group that was defending himself pro bono was defunded. so they were never able to really penetrate these witnesses early. it evolved over years as he went from one pro bono situation to another. finally when others picked up his case and in fact got these recanting, it went from one level to another level. three times it was stopped. the execution was stopped, which shows there was merit to this.
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i stood in this same place with a vigil with his mother in late 2008. we got within 90 minutes of his execution and the supreme court stopped it. i've been here before, this close to him being executed, and it was stopped. that's all been exhausted because in many ways, in early part, his class as well as his race factored in that he was not properly defended. the real question is at this point with all of that doubt, with it being stopped three times, why this board of pardon and parole wouldn't say, well, let's at least examine the new evidence, let's at least see what's going on here. that is what's so egregious to us. >> reverend al, quickly before i let you get out of here, what will if any the lasting impact of tonight's execution be? >> i think it will be a scar on the judicial system in georgia, but it will be a wake-up call to us nationally because we intend
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to take this case to the justice department and talk about how we must have stringent laws to protect people against eyewitness identification leading to execution if this, in fact, happens to troy davis today. >> it looks like there's a crowd starting to gather there. describe the scene for me. >> yeah, we brought several buses with us. and we'll be here all afternoon. >> all right. reverend al sharpton, appreciate your time, sir, thank you. of course, folks, you can tune in to "politics nation" tonight from georgia, 6:00 p.m. eastern only here on msnbc. we should note that lawrence russell brewer is set to be executed by lethal injection at 7:00 p.m. eastern time in texas. he was one of three men convicted of killing 49-year-old james byrd jr. some 13 years ago. byrd was tied to a pickup truck in jasper, texas, and dragged nearly three miles to his death. we continue to follow breaking news in iran. the u.s. hikers who have been held there for two years are now
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free. we have word that shane bauer and joshua fattal have been turned over to custody of amani officials. we have the latest now from iran. and ali, do we know where josh and shane are right now? >> reporter: craig, i just got word that they have entered the airport compound. i have colleagues there that are standing outside the airport. they saw their convoy at the airport compound. ar -- amani officials and swiss officials are with them. the flight has not taken off contrary to state reports here. there's got to be red tape to cut through during the airport. past experiences showed that when sara shourd was taken to the airport was forced to give an interview to state tv. that may or may not be in the cards. we do know that they are out of prison, inside the airport. so it's just a matter of time now before they leave iran.
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>> and a matter of time before they get stateside, as well. we first heard news about the release last week. but it was delayed. delayed a number of times. there was the judge who was on vacation. then the judge was back, but he was unavailable. how was it finally achieved this time around? >> reporter: i'd be speaking to the lawyer consistently through this ordeal for the hikers, and yesterday he sounded despondent. he'd been back to the courthouse, the judge hadn't shown up again. and he couldn't give me a time frame. all of a sudden this morning, out of the blue, he got word to go there, finalize the paperwork, and everything were set off in a very fast pace this morning. and here we are now with the hikers at the airport. what it has highlighted since last week when president ahmadinejad announced their release to ann curry is that there are deep rifts amongst the release and the right-hand doesn't always agree with the left hand in iran. >> thank you, sir. appreciate that.
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next, why a columnist from the president's hometown says that mr. obama should scrap his re-election plans right now. we'll talk to that columnist. plus, how academy award-winning ron howard is helping children get a better live. he's going to join me on the other side of the break. first, a quick look at wall street right now. there's the big board. ♪ >> the dow is down. s&p is down. nasdaq up ten points. [ male announcer ] in 1894, a small town pharmacist set out to create a different kind of cold remedy using powerful medicine and natural ingredients from around the world. he called it vicks vaporub. today, the vicks journey continues. introducing new vicks nature fusion cold & flu syrup. powerful multi-symptom medicine flavored with natural honey instead of artificial flavors and dyes. so you can feel good about what you take to feel better.
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never good when a hometown crowd boos you. a columnist in the president's hometown of chicago says step aside, mr. president, let hillary clinton run. steve chapman, a columnist and member of the editorial board
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for "the chicago tribune." good day to you. >> good to be here. >> first, there's some precedent here, what you write in your column of presidents who could have run for re-election but did not in the face of a hostile election. lpj decided ton run in '68. truman did the same in '52. make the case for the current president to sit the next one out. >> we've got about as bad an economy as we've had since the great depression. it's been going on for four years now. unemployment is not falling. the economy is barely growing at all. and the forecasts are that it's not going to grow much in the next year. so i think given that, it's hard for me to believe that the american electorate is going to go to the polls next november and give obama another four years given that he's had four years and the economy is no better. it's going to work against him.
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>> steve, a lot of polls show the president standing ground against gop contenders now. >> i think so at the moment. his popularity, though, is declining. his approval rating is at the lowest level it's ever been. there's no reason to think it's going to improve. he's not going to be able to get much done with congress. the economy is not going to get better. and i think, you know, when we'll get into the voting booth, somebody who doesn't look so great now is going to look better because it's not obama. >> you mention hillary clinton. >> yeah. you know, she's a person who's run for president before. she's obviously very well-known, has a lot of credibility. and the -- >> wouldn't she face -- wouldn't she face some of the same members that you're talking about? the same bad job numbers, the same debt crisis? why hillary, why not a fresh face? >> well, because i don't think
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there's anybody who would be credible as a democratic party nominee. hillary is instantly credible. she doesn't bear responsibility for the economic problems. in fact, she's associated with a period of economic prosperity in the '90s when her husband was president. i think -- she happens to be according to a new bloomberg poll the most popular political figure in the country now. >> steve chapman, "chicago tribune," thank you. >> thank you. a group urging a judge to drop the indictment against former presidential candidate john edwards, and it's not just his own attorney there's time. also, academy award-winning director and producer ron howard live. i have copd. if you have it, you know how hard it can be to breathe and what that feels like. copd includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
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the boys and girls clubs of
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america has launched a new psa jam-packed with celebrities. the campaign is called "great futures start here." take a look. >> every child follows a path in life. for many, that path will lead them to a door. a door that gives them a place to grow, to learn, to belong. a place to forge their future. because while many doors open, these doors transform. >> the public service announcement features 21 famous club alumni including national spokespersons denzel washington and jennifer lopez. joining me from the national press club is the man who directed that spot and lots of other cool stuff, as well. oscar-winning director ron howard. and nicholas foley, too. nicholas has been named the club's northeast youth of the year. gentlemen, thank you very much for spending some time with me this afternoon. >> you're welcome. i think it's actually national
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-- >> did i demote you, sir? >> yeah. >> i apologize. nick, i'm going to come back to you. ron, how did you become involved with this project? >> well, i've been a supporter of boys and girls clubs, even though i had no childhood history with it. but for a number of years, i've just believed in it, and been an advocate, been a supporter. and denzel knew that. at imagine films we made a couple of movies that starred denzel. he called, and i was flattered to be a part of it. and now getting closer to the organization, i see that my instincts were really right because, you know, the work that they do, the corners of the country and, in fact, the entire world that they reach is really astounding. and they're doing work that we need, that's desperately needed. >> four million boys and girls clubbers, 4,000 clubs around this country. nick, i know that you have been a boys and girls clubber yourself for about ten years now
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in pittsburgh. how did you come to start going? >> oh, it was actually a long time ago when i first came to pittsburgh. i went through a rough childhood and came to pittsburgh. my new parents took me there. they found out about it through just local people. and turned out to be the best decision they ever made for me. >> i want to look at some stats here, ron, statistics. i know you looked at these earlier. three in ten u.s. students don't graduate on time. three in ten students in america, overweight, obese, one in five children living in poverty now. today on "morning joe," denzel washington who has been a spokesperson for boys and girls clubs for 20 years had this to say. >> yes, those statistics are true. but the other side of the three in ten is that seven in ten aren't. so we're trying to increase that number and make that eight out of ten. i mean, it's so easy not to say you guys are doing it, but it's easy to point fingers and say good things aren't happening, but great things are happening.
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>> ron, boys and girls clubs aren't subsidized by the federal government. what should be done at the federal level to change things, to turn those numbers around? >> well, the -- you know, the education on every front involving kids in every front. character building, you know, on every front. but the great thing about the boys and girls club is it exists. they've been doing it for over 100 years, and, you know, if you believe in the things that our country, our society aspires to or purports to aspire to, then you have to believe in education, in character-building, and programs. and the other thing that i love about boys and girls club is it's a great place. it's inviting, but it's not just sports. it's not just games. you know, there's -- there's tutorial support, there are these character-building, leadership programs. it's really remarkable. and it's there. they know how to do it, and sure, if you can find a place near you and you want to support
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it, obviously that's brilliant. but here's an organization that does it all over the country. you know, i -- i believe that they're worthy of our attention and support. whether it is on a governmental level or just private or, you know, through volunteerism. >> you mentioned aspirations through the country. there's been talk of late about the role of the wealthy. the president has said that people who earn more should essentially pay more. critics say it's class warfare. you've done very well for yourself, you've made tens of millions off film and television. what do you make of the ongoing debate in america? >> well, to be honest, i remember on the "andy griffith show" when income taxes for the upper levels were as much as 90%. and that's the era that we often look back to with great nostalgia. it was a time of tremendous
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growth. so you know, i'm not averse to paying some taxes to try to help the country grow and help the economy grow. >> paying more taxes than you're paying now? >> yeah, for me personally, i -- i believe that it's silly. i'm with warren buffett on this one. >> before you get out of here, jane lynch is going to join me in a few minutes. i am sure -- >> my girlfriend! >> i'm sure -- apparently you have heard this. she mentioned you in a book. she had a huge crush on you. anything you want me to pass along to jane lynch? a few minutes? >> well, i'm of course flattered. i think we also have to look deeper and realize that i was a pretty safe choice. >> that's -- ron howard, thank you very much. hey, nick -- >> yes? >> you still there? we got you there? >> yep. >> your plans, i understand you're looking at colleges now, right? >> yep. i'm finishing up my senior year, and i'm hoping to attend penn state university. i definitely want to study civil
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engineering, so i've looked at a lot of schools. right now penn state's my number-one choice. >> you're sitting next to a guy who offered to fork over a bunch of money to the federal government. ask if he's willing to help you go to penn state. just saying. >> i will. >> just saying. >> ron, nick, thank you so much. appreciate your time. >> you bet. take care. the iphone 5 reportedly will be hitting stores soon. we're going to tell you precisely when. and as i mentioned, actress jane lynch on her new memoir on don't ask, don't tell. and that schoolgirl crush that she had on opie taylor. yeah, he was past opie taylor. we'll be right back. yeah, i'm married. does it matter? you'd do that for me? really? yeah, i'd like that. who are you talking to? uh, it's jake from state farm. sounds like a really good deal. jake from state farm at three in the morning. who is this? it's jake from state farm. what are you wearing, jake from state farm? [ jake ] uh... khakis.
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she sounds hideous. well she's a guy, so... [ male announcer ] another reason more people stay with state farm. get to a better state. ♪ she won't eat eggs without hot sauce. she has kind of funny looking toes. she's always touching my hair. and she does this dancing finger thing. [ male announcer ] with advanced technology from ge, now doctors can diagnose diseases like breast cancer on a cellular level. so that women, like kristy's mom, can get personalized treatment that's as unique as she is. [ kristy ] she's definitely not like other moms. yeah, my mom is pretty weird. ♪
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♪ ♪ i like dat, all right [ male announcer ] mio. a revolutionary water enhancer. add a little...or a lot. for a drink that's just the way you like it. make it yours. make it mio. whose non-stop day starts with back pain... and a choice. take advil now and maybe up to four in a day. or choose aleve and two pills for a day free of pain. way to go, coach. ♪ welcome back to msnbc. i'm craig melvin. the federal reserve is introducing a new plan to boost the economy at 2:15 eastern. a powerful typhoon slammed into central japan.
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that area still recovering from the tsunami. at least six people are dead or missing. the massive wildfire in texas was likely sparked after a dead tree and some tree branches fell on two separate power lines. the fire started labor day weekend. two people died. more than 1,500 homes were destroyed. scientists say oil from the bp spill is not breaking down as quickly as they thoughts it would. there's still oil on the sea floor there. according to the latest rumors, apple's new ceo, tim cook, will unveil the iphone 5 on october 4. a disgraced former presidential candidate, john edwards, is getting some surprising help with his criminal defense now. an ethics group plans to take an unusual step urging a judge to drop a six-count felony indictment against the former north carolina senator for alleged election law violations. nbc news senior investigative correspondent, lisa meyers, with the latest. >> reporter: hey, craig. john edwards doesn't have a lot
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of friends these days. so it grabs your attention when a group dedicated to exposing political corruption takes his side against the justice department. john edwards has attended every court hearing since his indictment. actively involved in defending charges he used illegal campaign contributions to cover up his affair and child with rielle hunter. >> good morning. >> reporter: the trial in north carolina is delayed until january. so edwards' lawyers can go through 400,000 pages of documents from the government's investigation. that means the trial won't interrupt the october wedding of edwards' oldest daughter, kate, to her college sweetheart. edwards has now enrolled his youngest children in a private school. friends say to protect their privacy. but today in federal court, the watchdog group citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington will file a motion arguing there should be no trial, calling for the case to
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be dismissed. >> i think the case is ridiculous, frankly. >> reporter: melanie sloan, sometimes referred to as the most feared woman on capitol hill, heads the organization. your group usually goes after political scoundrels. why on earth would you be siding with the disgraced politician like john edwards? >> t hard to come -- it is hard to come to the defense of somebody as despicable as john edwards. but in this case the justice department is taking such an aggressive prosecution, you have to wonder why they're doing this. >> reporter: two wealthy donors provided $2 million to hide a pregnant ryele hunter -- rielle hunter from voters. >> it's a typical fraud case. >> reporter: edwards' lawyers upon the case thrown out saying it's unprecedented and politically motivated. >> i'm george holden, and i'm running for congress.
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>> reporter: republican u.s. attorney george holden oversaw the edwards case, then quit his job to run for congress weeks after edwards was charged. now edwards claims his long-time adversary brought him down for political gain. george holding told us that he can't comment on an ongoing case, and edwards continues to maintain that he did not break the law. craig, many veteran prosecutors believe this case will end with some kind of plea deal because both sides have a strong incentive to avoid a trial. >> lisa myers from our washington bureau this afternoon. thank you. >> reporter: you bet. jane lynch may very well be the hardest working person in show business these days. she hosted the emmys sunday. her show, "glee," with all the singing and dancing, returned for the third season last night. by the way, she has a new memoir out, as well. it is called "happy accidents." we are pleased she could join us this afternoon. thanks for being here. >> thank you for having me.
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>> let's start with the emmys. we know you had a good time. give us dirt. what happened behind the scenes? the kutcher, sheen -- >> nothing, it it was -- there was no drama. it was happy. i think they kept people away from people, though. i don't think paths were crossed. >> let's talk about your book. i looked on the back there. there's a picture of you from 1980 that people should buy the book just for that. >> for the picture. >> it's called "happy accidents." what were some of these accidents that led to the -- >> yes, without the perm and without the huge glasses and the miller lite. well, i used "happy accidents" as a metaphor. what i firmly believe is that my life has taken care of move and led me to the next place i needed to be, and the next situation i needed to be in. i was a kid who grew up with anxiety and angst, and i always thought the party was happening out here. and that the parade was going to pass me by. i started from the point of view i'd love to go back to the girl with the fro and terrible glasses and the miller lite and
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say relax and don't drink miller lites in the morning. >> what happened? >> whoa. gosh, read the book. what happened? i think more and more -- what happened for me is that i said yes to everything. i ended up piling up a bunch of experience which led to the conclusion and calming of my inner self that i didn't need to be so anxious and to trust what's right in front of me. it is a path to -- it sounds esoteric, to being firmly rooted in the present. i don't have that burning ambition. i'm not trying to prove anything. i couldn't have more things to do now. >> just when you throw it off, everything comes -- >> comes my way, yes. >> i want to talk about a few things political. first, i want to start with your tweet yesterday. you're openly gay, we all know that. >> everybody knows that now. >> happily married, we all know that, as well. and you tweeted yesterday after don't ask, don't tell was repealed, your tweet was very simple, "don't ask, don't tell gone, good riddance." >> yes. >> a few months ago you signed an open letter that read in part, and i want to on show an
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excerpt. "we ask you now for your leadership on ending the exclusion of same sex couples from marriage. an exclusion that harms millions of americans every day. with so many americans talking it through in heartfelt conversations, it is a question that calls for clarity from the president. having seen the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, what's your thought now? has your position changed, or do you still want to see more from the administration? >> of course i want to see more. but i'm so grateful for what president obama has done in lifting this. i know he's evolving on the issue, and that's lovely. >> why the air quotes? do you think it's lip service? >> i hope it is. i hope that he really is cool with gay people getting married. i hope that that's the truth. i hope that he's -- it's a political thing. you know -- >> you hope that it is some political thing? >> i hope it is. i hope he'll let it go. that he'll have the confidence to let it go. i like the guy, i think he's doing great work. i will vote for him.
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i'm happy that we no longer have don't ask, don't tell. and that -- i hope we'll all be able to get married and share in the same rights. >> i want to ask you something else that i asked your boyfriend, ron howard. there's been talk, as you know, but people like you, people who have been made -- people who made a wheelbarrow load of money in this country. people like you perhaps paying more -- >> taxes. >> what's your take on that? >> i wish i knew the intricacies there. is it as simple as that? if it is, i would absolutely pay more. yeah. does look like the middle class is going away. we're -- we have a class of the upper-class, and we have poor. i was reading in the "wall street journal" today, our houses are worth a fraction of what they -- nobody has equity in their home. that used to be the great american dream. you would buy yourself a home. you have equity in it. that's not the case. they don't think we'll -- until 2015, we're not going to see our way out of this. >> i mentioned ron howard. again, i think by now everyone knows -- >> he's my gay boyfriend. >> you said it, not me. >> and he didn't say it either.
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>> did you see him? we had him on a few minutes ago. >> no, i didn't. >> he sent a message. take a listen. >> jane lynch is going to join me in a few minutes. i am sure -- >> my girlfriend! >> i'm sure you've -- apparently you have heard this. she mentions you in our book. she had a huge crush on you. anything you want me to pass along it jane lynch in a few minutes? >> i'm of course flattered. i think we also have to look deeper and realize that i was a pretty safe choice. >> exactly right. exactly right. that's why -- that's why as a young closeted lesbian growing up, i loved ronny howard. he was such -- he was wholesome and apple pie. he would never touch me. >> what does that say about ron howard? >> well, that's what -- i'm sure he's all man now. >> who else did you have a crush on? >> john travolta. i loved him, too. i had a crush on john travolta and olivia newton john at the same time. when "grease" came out i almost
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imploded. >> we so enjoy you. thank you very much. what's next after the book? i mean, new movie? >> jane lynch is going into hiding. this is -- a little squlanch go-- jane lynch goes a long way. i'm speaking of myself in the thurd person. that's scary. >> thank you. witnesses tell a different story than seaworld about how tillicum killed its trainer. and new poll numbers about the president's re-election. you will not believe who is gaining grounds on mr. obama now. labored breathing ] [ coughing continues ] [ gasping ] [ elevator bell dings, coughing continues ] [ female announcer ] congress can't ignore the facts: more air pollution means more childhood asthma attacks. [ coughing continues ] log on to and tell washington: don't weaken the clean air act.
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and kate pavlich, news editor, thank you very much. biggest surprise in the numbers. let's put this on the screen if we can. forget the sarah palin jokes. sarah palin now trailing president obama by just 5%, she's not even running officially. the poll says it's because she leads the president among independent voters. karen, can president obama reclaim independent voters at this point, or are they gone forever? >> oh, absolutely, i mean, i think it's important to remember a couple of things. number one, in this period where you don't have the head-to-head match-up that you have in a general election, you know, those numbers reflect how people are feeling about president obama at the moment, some of that which is frustration, frankly, that he hasn't been fighting back harder with the republicans, which he's actually starting to do now. and then when you're in the general election and you really have the opportunity for a head to head, those are the numbers that i think will tell us more about where the electorate is because at this point, it's
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really more, you know, in the abstract, and an opportunity to express frustration. but not necessarily to say, okay, yes, i would truly vote for sarah palin over barack obama. >> katie, i mean, it's the measure cla-- mcclatchy-maris poll, do you think it should be dismissed? >> i don't think it should be dismissed at all. you have to look at who's being polled here, 53% of independents in the poll said they would not vote for barack obama in 2012. now, karen brought up the point that they're frustrated with what obama has done so far. she mentioned that they're frustrated that he's not necessarily hitting back against republicans like he should. i would disagree. i think they've seen what he's produced in the past three years, zero. he's had zero jobs produced in august. on the sarah palin point, you know, she gave a speech at the beginning of september that really hit home with a lot of independent voters in terms of the crony capitalism. the permanent political class. i think one people get past the surface of sarah palin and the
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superficial arguments against her, i think they'll like her. >> katie, can you get past the surface? i mean, and by that i mean if she were going to run by now, if she were going to be a serious candidate, she would be in the race. and do independent voters -- the independent voters who decide general elections, they really going to vote for sarah palin? >> well, you never know. you know, like karen said, we have a whole near to go. yes, we can get past the surface. if you look at her background in alaska, she took on the oil company, the crony capitalism. she has unique perspectives to offer the country as a whole. >> she quit before her term was up. >> quit before her term was up. signed for a big contract with fox news, wrote a book, and is more concern good giving up money and attention than running for president. >> karen, quickly. if there is a silver lining for
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democrats, it could be that every republican number is up, and the president wins every head-to-head contest, be it perry, romney, palin. how can there be so many folks poll who'd say i'll never vote for the president, but if you put the president next to this guy, this woman, okay, maybe i'll vote for him? >> again, unnamed candidate. he's -- >> i think really, again, i think it reflects what i was saying before which is in the abstract, people are very frustrated with president obama. i think he's turning that around. the white house, to their credit, has taken that message and are making those change. what i would say as evidence to that is 70% of americans agree with what the president has put forward in his plan, the ideas that he's put forward. you put that head to head with a specific candidate, that is a different conversation than when you're talking in the abstract about what president obama's trying to do against a republican congress that can only say no. >> thank you very much. katie, i promise next time we'll start with you. >> okay.
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thank. >> appreciate your time, ladies. >> thanks. side bar now. and then there were nine. former new mexico governor and republican presidential candidate gary johnson will get his moment in the spotlight. johnson will be included in tomorrow night's debate in florida after cracking 1% in five recent national polls. and it's probably the most memorable photo op from the campaign trail so far. there it is, michele bachmann toured a meat packing company in des moines, iowa, and even sliced a ribeye, as well. did pretty good. and it was an unlikely backdrop to call on president obama to block iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad's visit to the united nations. maybe she was channeling rocky in the meat locker. [ monitor beeping ] [ sponge ] you've suffered some real damage. cheesy crusting. 3rd degree noodle trauma. the prognosis is bleak. you may need to soak overnight. nurse...!
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new questions are being raised about the death of a
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trainer at seaworld. a person who witnessed the deadly attack challenges seaworld's claims that the killer whale was attracted to dawn brancheau's bouncing ponytail. kerry sanders has more from orlando. >> reporter: the videos played in court showed trainer dawn brancheau on the ledge of the tank, engaged with tilikum the whale prior to the attack. seaworld's official line has long been tilikum of attracted by dawn's bouncing ponytail, snatched at it when the hair went into his mouth, and pulled her into the water to her death. this from our interview in march of last year. >> i'm pretty sure it might have been her ponytail. it was an opportunistic situation. >> reporter: now, a seaworld security guard is calling that testimony into reaction saying he saw the orca grab dawn's left arm, not her pony detail. when lawyers cross-examined him and asked if it was tilikum grabbed her ponytail, he said,
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"i'm not sure." the answer to what happened may lie on videotapes dawn's family and seaworld argue should not be played in court. >> they loved that while. she loved caring for those whales. >> reporter: the brancheau family who have only spoken publicly about their tragedy once here on "today," have asked that the videos from seaworld's security cameras be kept out of public view. but those tapes may now be the only way to explain if tilikum grabbed dawn's ponytail or her arm. animal rights activists argue seaworld is not to be believed. >> as you can see with the evidence and the eyewitnesses that are coming forward, he already had her arm in his mouth, and he was moving and took her down from there. >> reporter: seaworld is asking a judge to overturn a $75,000 fine from the federal government's occupational safety and health administration. osha fined seaworld for unsafe working conditions, for
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"exposing its employees to drowning hazards" when interacting with killer whales. seaworld issued a statement calling the osha allegations "completely baseless, unsupported by any evidence or precedent." >> that was nbc's kerry sanders reporting there. tilikum has opinion involved in two other human deaths. i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. i'll see you tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. out west. up next, "andrea mitchell reports." my name's jeff.
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports," the president at the u.n., walking a middle east tightrope. so far, failing to persuade the palestinians to back down. unless he can, the u.s. will be isolated from the rest of the world body, along with israel. >> actions in the united nations will achieve neither statehood nor self-determination for the palestinians. >> tonight the president will make one last appeal to palestinian president mahmoud abbas. free at last after more than two years in an iranian prison. shane bauer and joshua fattal are expected to leave iran on their way any minute to oman. and an international uproar over an execution scheduled for just hours from now in georgia. the fight over troy davis' guilt. good day, i'm live in new york. the long wait for freedom is finally over for two young americans who ft


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